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10 Cheap Backpacking Gear Must Haves

Today we present 10 cheap backpacking gear must have items, they may be cheap but they are high quality backpacking gear items that are a must have for any backpacking gear list/system.
Written By: Josh Koop
December 9, 2019
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Backpacking and everything that is required for backpacking can get expensive. Especially when you start adding all the little things that you end up needing that you didn't think you needed.

Today we present 10 cheap backpacking gear must-have items, they may be cheap but they are high-quality backpacking gear items that are a must-have for any backpacking gear list/system.

Cheap Backpacking Gear You Must Have!

Within your pack, you have the big three, where backpack base weight is the objective and focus, as they are the primary weight which can't be bypassed. Next up are must-have items which include groundsheets, utensils and more.

These miscellaneous gear items are frequently afterthoughts on a packing preparation and may be added as last second needs. Instead, it would be beneficial for you to start with these items to find which, if not all, you will want to have in your pack.

Tyvek Groundsheet

These can make for very nice underlay on your tent to keep it in good shape for longer duration hikes. If you are on rough surfaces or plan to be it would benefit you and the life of your tent by providing a groundsheet made of Tyvek.

Toaks Long Handle Titanium Spork

No one will tell you to pack multiple silverware items as they are a total waste of space and overall weight within your pack. This is why we love the Titanium Toaks Spork which is incredibly lightweight and simple to keep clean.

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The ultralight titanium long handle of the spoon features a nice matte finish and polished bowl at the end.

The benefits to a polished bowl are that it gives a smooth touch along with a long handle and flat head which supports easier reach into corners in a container.

Wildhorn Micro Fiber Towel Set

Towels are an interesting thing which is either loved or hated by hikers. If you are in the towel group then this towel set is the deal for you as these are super lightweight and small in pack size. This Towel set includes 3 convenient travel towel sizes which you can split up.

An extra Large bath size towel perfect for the beach or lake, a Large size that is lightweight and makes for a great trekking or camping towel and a small size that you can throw in your day pack.

Thermarest Z Seat

I know you can just sit on a log or ground or other object but you will learn the hard way that a seat is amazing. We love the Z Seat and its accordion-style design camping seat is an ultralight packers solution to on-the-spot comfort and warmth in almost any terrain.

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The Z Seat is virtually indestructible and weighs in at only 2 ounces which means it’s ideal for hiking and backpacking. It includes a bungee cord to keep the seating pad compact during transport.

The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is available in two styles: Coyote, with an R-value of 2.2; Limon Silver ThermaCapture, with an R-value of 2.6.

(R-value measures the material’s ability to insulate; the higher the R-value, the warmer the pad.)

Aquamira Drops

Sometimes you need to treat water and you have no easy way to get it done efficiently. The Aquamira two step drops help kill off bacteria and help the water taste while ensuring its overall safety to drink.

Aquamira drops have a 4 year shelf life and make for an excellent backup water treatment for the thru hiker or anyone on a day hike or longer to allow for emergency survival.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

Whether day, section or thru-hiking the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System will ensure you have access to clean water in the backcountry or anywhere in the world. The Sawyer is chosen by many in the thru-hiking community as it uses common bottled water threading which allows it to be connected to all kinds of plastic water bottles on your hike.

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Fill up the pouch at a lake, stream, or river, screw the filter directly onto the pouch, then squeeze the bag to filter water into a bottle. The Squeeze filter also has a push-pull cap for convenient drinking directly from the filter, and it attaches directly onto standard threaded water bottles.

  • Lightweight, easily portable 0.1 absolute micron hollow fiber membrane inline water filter
  • Highest level of filtration on market — removes greater than 99.99999% of all bacteria and 99.9999% of all protozoa (also filters 100% of microplastics)
  • Built-in and removable push/pull cap; spray water straight into mouth or bottle from included pouch; attach to standard threaded water bottles
  • Comes with one reusable 16-ounce, BPA-free collapsible pouch, two inline adapters for hydration pack bladders, a straw, and syringe filter cleaner

Nitecore NU25 Ultralight Headlamp

Always helpful to have a headlamp with you for those nights where you are night hiking or need to go dig a hole. I suggest the NU25 headlamp for the ability to charge with a power bank on the go.

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There's even a power indicator so you'll always know the remaining charge. With the light turned off, press and hold the R control button.

  • 360 LUMEN WIDE BEAM: Allows for a beam out to 88 yards
  • COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Weighs In At Less Than An Ounce While Small Enough For A Pocket
  • NO CHARGER NEEDED: Great for travel and daily use charge with a simple USB cable

Cnoc Vecto Water Bag

The best way to think of the Cnoc Vecto water bag is as your fast, always available, dirty water container. It has 2 openings, one normal threaded end, and a wide bottom end.

Cheap Backpacking Gear - Cnoc Vecto Water Bag Is Super Helpful In Thru Hiking
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This is where the power of the Cnoc Vecto comes in for its use in hiking and even more to thru-hikers. The dual end allows you to attach a Sawyer filter onto the threaded end but you can fill it incredibly fast from the bottom bag opening. This allows you to fill and filter water very efficiently and move on hiking instead of delaying.

  • Patent Pending: Dual Opening System
  • Lightweight: Only 2.6 Ounces
  • Attaches To 28 mm threads: Sawyer Squeeze, Mini, or Micro, the LifeStraw Flex, and the HydroBlu Versa Flow

Sawyer Picaridin

Ok, I hate to admit it, I despise mosquitoes and will do everything in my power to decimate their population single-handedly. This is where Picaridin comes into use as it helps manage insects including the darn mosquitoes. It is safe to use on the whole family, Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent is highly effective at deterring a wide array of insects and is great for use on both skin and clothing.

Picaridin is the perfect balance of efficacy, safety, and user-friendliness. It repels a wide variety of pests including mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, sand flies, gnats, chiggers, and midges. One of the longest lasting repellents available, it provides up to 14 hours of protection against mosquitoes and ticks.

  • Lotion Functionality: Repels mosquitoes up to 14 hours; 8 hours for ticks, flies, gnats, chiggers, and fleas
  • Effectiveness: Strong against the Yellow Fever Mosquito, which can transmit the Zika Virus
  • Non Destructive: Won't damage plastics or synthetic coatings

Anker PowerCore Lite Battery Bank

I need my phone while out on the trail for days on end, it serves as my camera, music player, mapping system and contact tool. This is why I HAVE to have a way to recharge in my cheap backpacking gear. This is why I have used Anker banks for the last couple of years, they are always reliable and charge fast and efficiently.

In the Anker PowerCore Lite, you have a battery which is super light and compact which also provides with 2 USB ports and allows you 2 separate options for recharging PowerCore itself (Micro USB or USB-C). 

It’s time to experience just how mobile your devices can really be. With a 20,000 mAh capacity, stay charged up for an entire week without even looking at a wall socket.

  • Weight: 387g/13.7oz
  • Multi-Device Charging: 2 Devices Simultaneously
  • Trickle-Charging Mode: Safely Charge Bluetooth Devices

Summary

I hope this brought up some cheap backpacking gear you hadn't thought on much and that you may have decided to add new equipment into your backpacking gear out. If you know of a cool cheap gear that I should add or replace something on the list please comment below and let me know!

Please feel free to share this with people on your social media if you know they are planning, prepping or thinking about taking on a thru hike as it will help them to learn about the travel and gear prior to missing out.

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